When I hear someone say, "The Lord said this to me and that and the other thing," how can I know for sure they heard clearly from God?
The questions one might ask would be: "Does God still speak audibly to people today? Is it biblical for God to speak to people today as he did with the prophets and the apostles of the Bible days?"
"Call to me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know." Jeremiah 33:3.
Similarly, Paul shared this: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him," 1 Corinthians 2:9.
Paul was a New Testament believer, one who was quite familiar with the audible voice of the Lord. Jeremiah was an Old Testament prophet to whom God spoke in audible words.
What do these two men both have in common that they hear audibly from God?
Jeremiah also shared these words from God: "'The day will come,' says the Lord, 'when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant, though I loved them as a husband loves his wife,' says the Lord.
"'But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day,' says the Lord. 'I will put my laws in their minds, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their family, saying, "You should know the Lord." For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will already know me,' says the Lord.
"'And I will forgive their wickedness and will never again remember their sins,'" Jeremiah 31:31-34.
So according to the word of the Lord through Jeremiah, we can all possess the ability to hear from God. What does Jesus have to say about hearing directly from God?
Jesus gave us this promise in John 10: "My sheep recognize my voice; I know them, and they follow me."
In John 14:15-27: "If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another counselor, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth.
"The world at-large cannot receive him, because it isn't looking for him and doesn't recognize him. But you do, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.
"Those who obey my commandments are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them, and I will love them. And I will reveal myself to each one of them.
"I am telling you these things now while I am still with you. But when the Father sends the counselor as my representative and by the counselor I mean the Holy Spirit he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I myself have told you.
"I am leaving you with a gift: peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn't like the peace the world gives. So don't be troubled or afraid."
Jesus was very positive about his followers hearing his voice and knowing who he was.
The same is true today. Some people may not hear the audible voice of the Lord, but they recognize his voice in Holy Scriptures, in the word given by a prophetic word spoken in the congregation or even the silent word of the Lord often times spoken through nature.
I would like to encourage you from 2 Chronicles 7:14, "If we humble ourselves and pray and seek God's face and forsake our wicked ways, he will answer us."
There is a healthy fear of the Lord that helps us to humble ourselves before we pray.
It's like tuning an instrument such as a guitar before playing it. We must be tuned perfectly into why we seek God's face before we even speak to him.
If a guitar is not tuned before you play it, it makes a terrible noise. If our hearts are tuned into why we seek God and our hearts are right before the Lord, he will not hold back from us the great and wonderful things he has promised for us.
If, on the other hand, we use the Lord's name in vain praying and want to bring only attention to ourselves, our hearts are not in tune to the Lord and our hearts are not right before the Lord.
If our hearts are not right with our Lord when we go before him in prayer, we will not please him and our prayers will go unanswered. A humble and contrite heart is what our Lord seeks from us. Then we will hear from the Lord and have a right relationship with him.
Jeremiah sought the Lord with all his heart. Paul knew who he was before the Lord.
Moses was a man after God's own heart, so God spoke to him in audible words.
These men knew who their Lord was without a doubt. These men had a righteous fear of the creator of the heavens and the earth.
They wanted to delight in the Lord their God with all their hearts, souls and minds.
Because of their Love and obedience toward the Lord, he favored them in a very special way. God revealed himself by his Spirit and through his spoken words.
A song named "In The Secret," written by Andy Park in 1995 puts it ever so lovely:
"In the secret, in the quiet place,
In the stillness you are there.
In the secret, in the quiet hour
I wait only for you.
Because I want to know you more.
I want to know you,
I want to hear your voice,
I want to know you more.
I want to touch you,
I want to see your face,
I want to know you more."
Yes, I believe God wants to speak to us today in the same way he spoke to those who loved him long ago.
Even more, God wants us to speak to him as a real being and he cares about us and what we are going through in our lives.
God is the same today as he was yesterday and will continue to be the same tomorrow. If you have a desire to hear God speak to you, seek him with all your heart and then listen.
Mark Conway is an evangelist living in Seward. He can be contacted through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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